Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Back to South America

As most of you probably know, I’ve traveled to Bolivia on short-term mission trips with North Point Community Church in Atlanta for the past two summers. Both times, we did various types of construction, from rebar/concrete work to bricklaying to building a house out of plywood to remodeling the office of an orphanage organization. Last year, I was the last woman standing in the limbo contest and definitely the oldest of the finalists. That doesn’t have anything to do with ministry – I just wanted you to know.

This July, I’m returning to Santa Cruz with five previous Bolivia missionaries and 22 strangers. This year, we have two important teams helping out with the trip. Team 1 is made up 28 folks who are going to Bolivia. Team 2 is made up of those who are staying behind to pray for us and for the Bolivians, and for those who would like to donate money to send Team 1 to South America. If you’d like to help prayerfully or financially, please shoot me an email or leave a comment and I will send you my address. (Wouldn’t want to put that on the Internet for all my dangerous stalkers!) This year we have to raise something like $2,000 each, so I need to get started. Right now, I’m at $0.

Once I get to Bolivia, I’m going to try to blog remotely as much as I can to keep you all up-to-speed on our efforts. Until then, I’ll be posting some photos and fun reminiscences from previous years. I know it’s weird to say, but those 10 days in July are my favorite days of the year and I am so looking forward to going back, building new buildings, revamping the futbol field and working with the homeless street kids. Check out this silly list I made after returning from last year’s trip:

22 Things I Learned in Bolivia

1. At professional Bolivian soccer games, it’s BYOF (bring your own fireworks to shoot from the stands at the other team!)
2. Fanta and Coke taste SO much better in South America.
3. It only costs $100 a month to attend college for my new best friend Edwin.
4. Even if you don’t understand every word, sometimes the best conversations you can have are with people who don’t speak English. Its genuine, heartfelt sentiment that means so much more than words.
5. The Bolivian airline sucks. Sucks. Sucks.
6. When your airline sucks and the wings are wrapped in duct tape, Ambien is the best invention ever.
7. God is everywhere in the most remote, desolate and hopeless places on Earth. He’s there and He’s taking care of people.
8. Everyone has something to teach.
9. I am the World Limbo Champion! I’m going to make and market a Bolivian workout video: limbo & brick tossing.
10. Anyone who can take a 5-gallon bucket to the face and live to tell the tale is a special kind of hero.
11. Eating ice cream twice a day is one of the sacrifices I made to be a missionary. Someone has to do God’s work.
12. Being the only blonde in a country full of brown-eyed, black-haired people has its benefits. I rarely get to feel like the paparazzi are after me and it was a little marvelous.
13. There are desperate and lonely people in the world from the U.S. to Bolivia and everywhere in between.
14. God made us to be his hands and feet not his butt. I need to get off mine more often and help more people.
15. It is possible to go on three dates with someone without them ever knowing it.
16. Toilet paper and full-sized bath towels are luxuries. Cell phones, on the other hand, are everywhere.
17. They have Krispy Kreme in Mexico City.
18. The skin on your hands WILL peel off if you don’t wear gloves while laying bricks.
19. Flip-flops are okay on the construction site.
20. Winter in Bolivia? 88 degrees!
21. It’s Ishmael, not Ish-Miguel.
22. I have it way better than I deserve.

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